“Jimmy Page – like” wiring a Tribute Plus, blow-by-blow wiring demo with photos

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by hotzlaw, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. hotzlaw

    hotzlaw Senior Member

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    Hey, "Toners" :D....

    I just finished putting a "Jimmy Page - like" home-made harness with 50s style tone wiring into my Epiphone Tribute Plus.
    I thought that I'd share the experience with the community, I learned a lot through it, perhaps someone here can learn something as well, or get inspired, or something.....

    Background

    So, why the term “Jimmy Page – like”?

    Well, “Jimmy Page – like” to me could mean a wiring scheme using 4 push-pull pots to coil tap, put pups in series, and put them out-of-phase.

    There are really a lot of "Jimmy Page Wiring" variants on the web, and it’s beyond the scope of this post to discuss what’s good or bad, or even different about them.
    What I will say is that the version that I decided on, that is based on the Shecter Superock Harness that was published by Steve Ahola, has a big advantage over many similar schemes.
    That is, when the pickups are in series, there are no dead spots when the pup selector switch is moved to the Treble or Rhythm positions.
    In some schemes the serial setting only works then the pup selector switch is in the middle position, and the Treble and Rhythm positions are dead.
    With this scheme the pup selector switch can be anywhere when switching to series, and the neck volume and tone act like master controls when series is switched on.
    I find this is very useful and cool.

    After doing a lot of research and reading on the net, I stumbled upon this scheme through a MLP member, Raz59, who had posted his modification of this wiring scheme here.
    I modified it a little further because I wanted the tone module wired in 50s style, and so I also dumped the treble bleed circuit in Raz59s scheme.

    Many, many thanks to Raz59 not only for the scheme, but for the numerous discussions that he participated in on several forums from which I learned a whole lot.
    It really helped me out a lot.

    Parts

    I bought all of the pots and caps new instead of reusing stuff out of the T+.
    For one thing, I now have the original harness that I can drop into any guitar.
    For another, I was unable to desolder stuff off of the original pots – I suspect lead free solder and my 25W iron couldn’t cope.

    I prefer linear taper for volume when using 50s wiring, and log taper for tone.
    I had a pretty hard time trying to find linear taper push-pull pots.
    Since I’m not a believer in different *brands* of pots having profound influences on tone, and in order to stay metric and to avoid having to enlarge the holes, I stayed with Alpha pots.
    I found suitable ones at Axesrus, in England.
    They are the Alpha medium shaft ones – as far as I can tell they are identical with the original T+ tone controls, and Axesrus offers them in both log and linear flavors.

    I also got 22nF Sprague 192P capacitors from Axesrus.
    Again, I don’t believe that different *types* or *brands* of caps have a profound influence on tone.
    These caps are polyester film and foil like the original Mallory 150s that were in the T+, and they have axial leads so they are easy to solder between the pots.
    And they are Sprague, so they must be good. :)

    I also bought some cool cloth and wax wire from Axesrus.
    This stuff has a profound influence on, well, the way it looks.

    A little plug for Axesrus – the service was great, I ordered the stuff online on Thursday morning and signed for the package that was delivered here on Saturday morning in Germany.
    Awesome!

    Construction

    I’m going to break the construction down into 4 parts; Signal Path, Signal Ground, Chassis Ground and finally wiring in the pickups and switch.
    I drew the scheme up in Illustrator putting each of the parts into a different layer so that it is easier to see what is going on.
    To avoid confusion with the pot DPDT switches: the orientation is such that the part of the switch closest to the center of the pot in the diagrams is the “bottom” of the switch when the pots are mounted on the template and the switches are facing up.
    I think that this should be pretty obvious.

    I need to apologize for the quality of the photos.
    My wife and son were on vacation when I did this, and had taken all of our “good” cameras with them.
    I was stuck using my cell phone to photograph the stuff.
    Sorry!


    The entire circuit is shown below.

    Note that I am using Gibson colors for the Classic pups in the T+.
    If using other pups, you need to convert colors accordingly.
    Also note that I tried to separate signal and chassis ground.


    Volume controls split neck and bridge pups, respectively.
    Bridge tone switches out-of-phase.
    Neck tone switches pups series.

    [​IMG]

    Kind of a mess :hmm:…

    First thing I did was to build a template out of some fiber board that I had lying around, and to mount the 4 pots to this.

    [​IMG]

    Then I started wiring the Signal Path, using some hookup wire (green) for the short wires on the pots, and the cool yellow cloth stuff for the path between the pots.
    And the caps, of course.

    Here is the scheme for Signal Path:

    [​IMG]

    Next I wired in the Signal Ground, using hook up wire for the short stretches on the pots, and the cool black cloth stuff for the longer ones.

    Here is the scheme for the Signal Ground:

    [​IMG]

    Note that the two long black wires that "end nowhere" are left long enough so that they can be soldered to the jack.

    Here a photo of Signal Path and Signal Ground wired up.
    It is now ready to drop into the guitar:

    [​IMG]

    A close up:

    [​IMG]

    Now to the Chassis Ground.

    I wanted to avoid soldering to the back of the pots, in order to make it easier to change things should I decide to do so.
    So I used crimp type M8 lugs in order to slip the pots through these to ground them.
    I removed the plastic from over the crimp part of the lug and soldered the wires to the lug instead of crimping – again, just in order to make things easier should I decide to change things.

    Here the scheme:

    [​IMG]

    So I cut cool black cloth wires to length using my template for the connections between the lugs, and then soldered the bridge, pups and switch ground wires to these.
    Note that the connection between jack and switch was already in place on the guitar, I just left this as is.

    Again, I apologize for the lousy quality of the photo, but I think that you get the idea.
    The lugs go over the holes for the pots, so that the shafts of the pots can slip through:

    [​IMG]

    So now all that’s left to do is to marry the harness with the chassis ground, solder the pickup and switch wires, and to connect the two signal ground wires to the jack.

    Here is the pickup and switch scheme:

    [​IMG]

    Here’s what it looks like all hooked up (can you tell that the vacationers are back?):

    [​IMG]

    I was almost shocked that when, after soldering it all together, everything worked perfectly!

    The guitar is as quiet as it was with the original wiring, so the grounding is good, and everything switches the way that it is supposed to.

    So, well worth the effort :) , a really nice upgrade for my Tribute +.
     
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  2. Allkos

    Allkos Member

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    Great post! Glad it worked out so well for you. Seems really simple the way you broke it down. I need to practice my soldering techniques before I attempt something like this. Have a beater peavey strat knock-off that needs some resoldering so that will be good to cut my teeth on.

    Enjoy the variety of tones. Hard to get bored with so many options!

    Thanks for the post...
     
  3. hotzlaw

    hotzlaw Senior Member

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    Hey, you're welcome.

    I'm glad that you got your wiring question sorted out.

    This project required a fair bit of soldering, but by following the "cookbook" it worked the first time.

    Go for it!
     
  4. Raz59

    Raz59 Senior Member

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    I'm glad my scribbles on the internet managed to help you in your project.
    And congrats! Having such a rat's nest that is the JP wiring work without any problems on the first go must feel amazing.

    Cheers.
     
  5. hotzlaw

    hotzlaw Senior Member

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    Hey, what a great surprise!

    I had somehow gotten the impression that you hadn't been around for awhile...

    Yea, I was "expecting" to have problems, after reading many a post about people who got stuck on similar projects.
    I left the soldering iron out when I plugged in the guitar the first time.

    But after a bit of knob pulling and twiddling and realizing that everything worked....

    Well, it was just awesome.

    Thanks again for doing so much of the "ground work".
    I had read many, many a post by you, the ones that I found particularly helpful were those in which you "discussed theory" with some rather prominent individuals in the area of custom guitar wiring. :cool:

    You convinced me, and I figured I had a pretty good chance of success if I followed some of the stuff that you had done.
    You also pointed out many of the problems with similar wiring schemes on the net.

    Thanks again Raz59 - I very greatly appreciate the work that you contributed to the success of this project! :cheers:
     
  6. if6was9

    if6was9 Senior Member

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    @hotzlaw, your tutorial was a good read. Kudos!

     
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  7. HIghAndDry

    HIghAndDry Senior Member

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    great post
     
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  8. Blackegg

    Blackegg Senior Member

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    This is great, thanks.
     
  9. stewbaca

    stewbaca Junior Member

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    Super cool. Did the 50's style wiring part stay true to original 50's style wiring in regards to tone and roll off??. I'm also assuming you've run into no new glitches along the way. Looking for this exact model for some mods I'm making on a new precision guitar kits guitar I'm building for my daughter for Christmas. Thanks for the awesome mods diagram and breaking each step out like you did. Really classy post.
     
  10. DADGAD

    DADGAD Senior Member

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    When I look at wiring schematics it might as well be one for the guidance system of the space shuttle. I have someone do it for me.
     
  11. hotzlaw

    hotzlaw Senior Member

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    Hey, glad that you like it and thanks for the compliment.

    To answer your questions, the 50's style wiring part does stay true to the original with regards to no change in tone when rolling off the volume.

    I haven't had any problems with the wiring at all.

    I guess that the one variable that one might want to consider is whether to use a log pot for the volumes as opposed to the linears that I used.
    Linears work great when playing clean, but I think that logs might offer some advantages when playing with distortion.

    But that's the nice thing about rolling your own, it's always possible to try different things easily.

    I like your idea of building a guitar for your daughter.

    Good luck with your project!
     
  12. hotzlaw

    hotzlaw Senior Member

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    I'm kinda the same way about playing the guitar.

    I really should let someone that knows how to play do it for me, but instead I torment everyone within earshot.

    Go figure......
     
  13. stewbaca

    stewbaca Junior Member

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    Thanks for a reply man. So you had none of the treble roll off when rolling back the volume that I've heard as a drawback on the Seymour Duncan diagram? Last question and thanks again.
     
  14. hotzlaw

    hotzlaw Senior Member

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    Hey, no problem, ask away.
    The tone circuit is wired in 50's style, and there's no tone roll off.
     
  15. Caoimhin

    Caoimhin Senior Member

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  16. stewbaca

    stewbaca Junior Member

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    OK so here it goes. In trying to figure which of my pickup leads would go where on the diagram you provided (nice job on that by the way) I looked up your wire colors based on Gibson chart, tell me if I'm wrong.

    Red is north start (N+) and also hot
    White is north finish (N-) and a series wire
    Green is south finish (S-) and a series wire
    Black was south start (S+) and a ground

    On the wiring diagram you created the green & white (both series wires) go to the middle left tab on the BV pot switch. Now here is where my confusion is and please bear with me as I just don't want any mistakes on my end. Other than your nifty system for grounding the pots the wiring scheme APPEARS to be identical to the Steve Ahola version of the 50's style wiring (JP wiring 50's style - Les Paul Gallery). The confusion for me is that according to seymour duncan color system (unless the ahola version isn't using duncan pups), the Ahola diagram uses the north start (hot) and south start(ground) on the middle left tab on the BV push pull pot switch.
    It would seem your diagram would be correct I just don't know why the two are different unless the Ahola version is using pickups other than duncans. I assume they are duncans because it is written on the pups on the diagram. Sorry to be annoying and asking so many question. I have the pots and grounds wired, I'm just wanting it to be seemless when I solder the switch, pups and jack in.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  17. hotzlaw

    hotzlaw Senior Member

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    Hey, good call.

    I was actually going to build the version that you linked, but after studying the pickup wiring I decided not to because it was kind of different to most pickup wiring schemes that I had found, and I couldn't understand it.

    Assuming that these are SD pickups, then the diagram you linked would be using black and green as the series (the Starts), and red (Finish) as hot. This would mean that the circuit is wired South Finish (hot) - South Start - North Start - North Finish (Ground). Which is kind of unusual and I was uncertain (as you are). Not to say that this couldn't work, I am really no expert. Mostly you see Start as hot and Ground, and Finish is used for the series connection.

    So I compared this diagram to a different one in the same gallery, which isn't 50s style and uses treble bleeds instead. Notice that the pickup wiring is different here even though SD pickups are indicated? This is the wiring that I am more familiar with, so I basically used this one (Substituting Gibson for SD codes) and substituted the 50s tone circuit for the treble bleed.

    Shows that you are thinking about this. The way that I wired the Gibsons in this post is standard, connecting the two Finishes as series and using North Start as hot.

    There you go.
     
  18. stewbaca

    stewbaca Junior Member

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    Thanks a lot for your input, you have made this a much more enjoyable process than it would have been otherwise. I hadn't thought to compare the RAZ diagram, your diagram and the Ahola diagram. I will do that and just because I was able to talk to the person who made & installed his successfully yours will be the one I end up using. My PUPs are South Start Hot (White), North Start Ground (Black), North & South Finish are Series (Red, Green). I think I'm squared away now, thanks a bunch.
     
  19. Tonemeister

    Tonemeister Premium Member

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    I would have killed for this kind of a guide about 6 months ago. I tried 2 times to get the JP wiring thing working. I basically quit on it. I am archiving this post so when I get the balls to try again I'll be good. Very very cool post. Thanks to Hotzlaw and Raz59 for unselfishly sharing the wealth. :Thumbs Up:
     
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  20. bamoore07

    bamoore07 Member

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    Many, many thanks hotzlaw! And thanks to those who contributed to the resources you've already mentioned. I'd had the pots on hand on hand for several months prior, but hadn't made the time until this week to take on the JP wiring project.

    I acquired a Grassroots LP last spring for a song, and have been thrilled with it's tone and playability. It even came to me with real 4-conductor Burstbuckers preinstalled- shodilly, mind you, but the guitar was perfect for converting to the JP scheme. When the bridge pu volume pot started acting up, rather than resolder the bad connections, I knew it was time to go for the whole enchilada. Upon searching for a suitable schematic, I was thrilled to find this thread!

    After only a hiccup or two (wires soldered to wrong post), the guitar is working perfectly and sounds fantastic! It really is amazing having all of the tones made possible with this scheme at your fingertips! I would highly recommend this project to anyone a little handy with a soldering iron and a Les Paul, or have a good tech wire it up for you. The results are stunning.

    Thanks again!
     

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